The Presidents Cup is a team match play tournament usually contested every other year between the USA and an International Team made up of players outside of the US but not including European golfers.
The Presidents Cup is a rare chance for golf fans to enjoy some quality team action. The United States and the International Team have been locking horns on a bi-annual basis since the tournament was founded in 1994 and it continues to grow both in terms of quality and entertainment.
Unlike the Ryder Cup, there are four days of action to enjoy and the USA have a very strong recent record. The International Team have won the cup only once and save for a tied match in South Africa in 2003, every other renewal went the way of the USA.
|Quail Hollow Club||Charlotte, North Carolina||7,554 Yards||N/A|
Presidents Cup Recent Winners
|2019||United States||16-14||2 Points||Royal Melbourne Golf Club|
|2017||United States||19-11||8 Points||Liberty National|
|2015||United States||15½ - 14½||1 Point||Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea|
|2013||United States||18½ - 15½||3 Points||Muirfield Village|
|2011||United States||19-15||4 Points||Royal Melbourne|
|2009||United States||19.5-14.5||5 points||Harding Park|
About the Presidents Cup
The Presidents Cup is essentially a variation of the Ryder Cup with the European side being replaced by a global, international team. The first ever Presidents Cup was held at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia, USA back in 1994. Every two years, United States and a Rest of the World team (without Europe) compete for the Presidents Cup trophy. The Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia hosted the most recent event in 2019 (the tournament switched from even to odd years following the 9/11 attacks).
This tournament has taken place across various golf courses in different countries throughout the years, with only two venues having hosted it more than once (Robert Trent Jones Golf Club has been used four times and Royal Melbourne Golf Club three times). The first two events were both held in America, but since then it has alternated between the States and an international venue, with South Africa, Canada, South Korea and Australia all having their turn thus far.
Team USA have a stunning record in this competition, with the Rest of the World winning just one of the 13 Presidents Cups. The Americans will be hoping to win the next edition, which takes place on home soil at the Quail Hollow Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2021.
Each Presidents Cup has an Honorary Chairman, with the winners of the competition picking up the Presidents Cup trophy. Since 1994, American presidents Gerald Ford, George H.W Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump have all been an Honorary Chairman of this event.
Presidents Cup Honorary Chairmen
|1994||Gerald Ford – 38th President of the United States|
|1996||George H.W Bush – 41st President of the United States|
|1998||John Howard – 25th Prime Minister of Australia|
|2000||Bill Clinton – 42nd President of the United States|
|2003||Thabo Mbeki – 2nd President of South Africa|
|2005||George W. Bush – 43rd President of the United States|
|2007||Stephen Harper – 22nd Prime Minister of Canada|
|2009||Barack Obama – 44th President of the United States|
|2011||Julia Gillard – 27th Prime Minister of Australia|
|2013||Barack Obama – 44th President of the United States|
|2015||Park Geun-hye – 11th President of South Korea|
|2017||Donald Trump – 45th President of the United States|
|2019||Scott Morrison – 30th Prime Minister of Australia|
The format of this biennial event has been tweaked a number of times over the years but is broadly similar to that of the Ryder Cup (which has also been modified many times). The key difference between the two events is that the Presidents Cup is played over four days, not three.
In common with the Ryder Cup the final day sees all 12 players in singles action. Another commonality is that the days prior see a mix of fourballs and foursomes, although since 2005 only the third day has seen both formats played on the same day, with the opening two days seeing either one or the other, and the smallest number of matches (just five since 2015).
With format changes the total points have varied over the years, with the magic number needed to win varying accordingly. Since 2015 there have been a total of 30 matches played, making 15.5 points the target needed to win the cup outright.
America’s Excellent Record
Since Hale Irwin led team America to glory in the inaugural event in 1994, USA have dominated the Presidents Cup. The 1996 version was a lot closer, but the Americans reigned supreme against the International Team once again, edging it 16 ½ – 15 ½.
In 1998 the International Team scored their only victory to date, an astounding 20 ½ – 11 ½ win in Melbourne. As we can see in the table below, the US side returned the favour two years later, with a little interest too, before 2003 saw the only ever tie in the history of the event.
Those early years suggested we might have a really fascinating contest on our hands but since the tie in 2003, Team USA have won each of the last eight Presidents Cups. In fact, America have won 11 of the 13 tournaments. The USA’s first four wins were all at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia, their first win away from home not coming until 2007, in Montreal. In the 2019 event in Melbourne, Tiger Woods captained the US to a 16-14 victory over Ernie Els’ International Team, no doubt a bitter blow for the South African given how many times Woods beat him in major championships!
US Wins in the Presidents Cup
Nicklaus a Worthy Captain
Jack Nicklaus is without doubt one of the best golfers to have ever lived and for many pundits he is simply the number one. ‘The Golden Bear’ made a huge impact on this competition, captaining USA to victories in 2005 and 2007. However, Nicklaus was also team captain when the Rest of the World picked up their one and only success back in 1998 and he could also only manage a tie in 2003.
No player in Presidents Cup history has been captain on more occasions than Nicklaus (four). Jack’s class of 2007 – when he last skippered the team – sealed a 19 ½-14 ½ victory over Gary Player’s team of international stars. In terms of International captains, Player, Aussie Peter Thomson and Nick Price (Zimbabwe) have all led their teams three times.
Austin’s 2007 Plunge
In that 2007 Presidents Cup, America’s Woody Austin had a moment to forget. Austin hit the pond with a wayward effort, but rather than taking a penalty shot, he tried to hit the ball out of the water, something he would come to regret for the rest of his life. Woody, the oldest player on the team at 43, missed the ball completely, falling face-first into the water after slipping on rocks. He turned up for Sunday’s action wearing a snorkel – check out the footage below!
International’s One and Only Success
In the third Presidents Cup, Peter Thomson’s International Team recorded a big win over Jack Nicklaus’ USA. It was the first tournament to be held outside of the States, with the Rest of the World taking full advantage in Melbourne, going on to secure a comfortable 20 ½-11 ½ victory.
It was the second largest margin of victory in Presidents Cup history, as America were well beaten in Australia. It was a memorable occasion for the International Team, with then Prime Minister of Australia John Howard appointed Honorary Chairman of the event.
Thrilling Tie in Western Cape
The 2003 Presidents Cup at Fancourt Hotel and Country Club in George Western Cape, South Africa will always be an unforgettable one. South Africa’s Gary Player captained the International Team against Nicklaus’ USA.
The tournament ended in a tie for the first and only time in the event’s history, as neither side could pull away from the other in the 17-17 stalemate. After three tied playoff holes between Woods and Els, the captains and players decided to share the cup. Team USA got their trophy back two years later, though, winning 18 ½-15 ½ on home turf in Gainesville.